Back-to-school dental tips
School is back in session, which means backpacks and packed lunches for your children. Making healthy choices when it comes to lunch options is important for your child’s dental health.
The back-to-school season is always busy. Between school supplies and new schedules, there is a lot to do to make sure that your child is prepared. While you may not consider it an item that you would normally put on your back-to-school list of to-dos, just like making sure your child has been checked by their pediatrician and received all of their booster shots; the start of a new school year is a great time to make sure your child is observing good oral health habits by scheduling them for a cleaning and exam.
Childhood tooth decay is largely preventable, but remains one of the most common diseases of childhood, five times as common as asthma, and seven times as common as hay fever, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Tooth decay is a serious problem and may result in severe pain, infection, and tooth loss. Prevention and early detection can help avoid pain, trouble eating, difficulty speaking and school absences.
As you pack your child lunch and snacks, make sure you pack foods that won’t harm your child’s teeth. Here are some healthy choices and tips for promoting healthy dental habits:
Tips for Healthy Snacks:
Pack fruits — Fruit snacks are a popular lunchtime snack, but they can also wreak havoc on your child’s teeth. The sticky snacks can cling to teeth, encouraging plaque growth. Instead consider swapping them for real fruit like bananas, strawberries, grapes, and oranges will satisfy your child’s sweet tooth without harming their teeth.
Dairy — Milk is always an excellent choice because not only does it help their bones grow stronger, it can also help their teeth stay healthier as well. Yogurt, string cheese or a carton of milk are always good options.
Opt for crunchy snacks like baby carrots, celery sticks, and almonds.
Snacks or Drinks to Avoid:
Avoid packing food with extra sugar like cookies, sugary beverages or candy in children’s daily lunches. Instead consider packing snacks with no sugar added as a healthier option.
Juice boxes and other sugary drinks is another popular lunch box item that does more harm than good. The added sugar can cause tooth decay and cavities. Consider packing water or milk for a healthier choice.
High energy drinks, Monster drinks, and sport drinks are very popular among children and teens. The acid content in these drinks can break down enamel on teeth, which can lead to sensitivity and decay. If at all possible, encourage your child to avoid these drinks that can cause a mouthful of decay. If your child does consume these drinks, make sure to tell them to always rinse their mouth with water immediately afterward. Flushing with water will help wash away remaining sugars and acids, and stop them from attacking tooth enamel.
Remember dental cleanings and exams, together with sealants and fluoride treatments are easy ways to prevent decay before it starts. Preventing dental problems will help avoid missed days from school and making healthy choices in the foods and snacks you send with your child to school, may even improve their performance.
School Check List:
School Supplies? Check! New Clothes? Check! Teeth Cleaning & Exam? Schedule your child an appointment today, and “Check” this off your list as well!
Good luck this school year to all the students and parents.